MICHELIN RIDERS ON MOTEGI PODIUM Biaggi second as Tamada takes his first top three finish on Michelins Crash laden race sees championship leader Rossi out after dramatic collision Max Biaggi (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin) ...
MICHELIN RIDERS ON MOTEGI PODIUM
Biaggi second as Tamada takes his first top three finish on Michelins
Crash laden race sees championship leader Rossi out after dramatic collision
Max Biaggi (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin) battled hard for the win at Motegi but finished an agonisingly small 1.479 seconds away from the top step of the podium, after the race was taken by Loris Capirossi (Ducati). It was the first non-Michelin win of the 2005 season, the previous 11 races all taken by riders on the French tyres. With Capirossi on pole the Michelin riders knew that he would be hard to beat at this particular track, and after a three-rider fight in the lead it came down to a Biaggi versus Capirossi fight until the final few laps. While sitting in fourth place Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) collided with Marco Melandri (Movistar Honda MotoGP-Michelin) on lap 13, putting both riders out of the contest and postponing any potential Rossi championship party. It was a race of attrition, conducted in front of 68,000 Japanese fans and held in ambient temperatures of 34C. Only 11 riders finished, with top name Michelin men like Sete Gibernau (Movistar Honda MotoGP-Michelin) and Alex Barros (Honda Camel Pons RC211V- Michelin) joining Rossi and Melandri on the DNF list.
Colin Edwards (Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) finished sixth, one place ahead of his fellow countryman Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin). The race itself was over 13 seconds faster than the 2004 event, demonstrating the advances made in tyre and machine performance.
"Quite clearly the difference between Bridgestone and us at this track was bigger last year than this year," said Nicolas Goubert, Michelin's chief of motorcycling competitions. "We improved more than they did and the race was a lot faster than last year, while the gap is smaller. I cannot say I am happy about the result but I cannot say that I am too unhappy. With what had happened here last year, and what Loris showed on Friday and Saturday we knew he was going to be very difficult to beat, and it would be a good, close race. He was also the only Bridgestone rider to show a good performance, because all the other ones were 20 seconds behind. Last year this was not the case. Even if they finished in fourth and firth positions as well, it doesn't mean a lot because of the number of crashes. I would like to offer a special congratulation to Tamada-san, who was on the podium for the first time on Michelin tyres. I believe he was slowed down by some chatter from the bike, and that stopped him keeping up with the front guys. It was his first podium of the year and I think this will be the real start of the year for him, as her is not injured any more. We have lost here, but it is always difficult to win, especially on the home track of our competitors. There will still be some hard fights to come, but we are looking forward to that. Our next win will be even nicer because of that."
"We made a good job but by the end of the day I think we were the first Michelin finishers up there and it was very tough to follow Capirossi," said Biaggi at the post-race conference. "I tried my best and second was the best I could do in this race. At the end of the day it was a lot of points and we were close to the winner. I would not want to point the finger at Michelin because the worst case was second and for sure at the next race we will have our revenge. The others should be in a bit more trouble there. But that is racing and I am happy with my Michelins. We are up to the podiums now and I want to stay there until the end of the year."
Tamada, the winner of the 2004 race, stated: "I am very happy to have finished in third place. The year has not gone so well so far, for my team, and me but I am happy to get this result here, especially in front of my sponsors. It was the best race of the season so far for me, and my first podium on Michelin tyres."